With a five-game slate, setting off a 49-game, 11-day whirlwind prior to the Dec. 22 season opener, the NBA preseason began Friday.
For the first time in almost two years John Wall was back on the field. For the first time since the 2019 NBA Playoffs, DeMarcus Cousins have played.
And Los Angeles Lakers, winner of NBA, had none to watch at home.
A truncated 49-game sprint, the NBA pre-saison — began on Friday with a five-game schedule, an action which was returned to the NBAs after nine months for the first time. The coaches made their debut with their new teams: Houston’s Stephen Silas, New York’s Tom Thibodeau, Chicago’s Billy Donovan and Los Angeles Clippers’ Tyronn Lue. The rookies, as for example No. 4, get their first NBA minutes picked up by Patrick Williams and No.8, Pick Obi Toppin of the Knicks.
As in most buildings, absolutely nobody was at any of these games at the beginning of the season. The Chinese Virus and the number of cases still increasing, with the League and its teams roaming on the side of safety, the period that began with the NBA with the suspension on 11 March of last year — the night when Rudy Gobert from Utah was tested positive — persisted.
The coach of Lakers Frank Vogel told the clippers before his team in a very bare Staples Center. “It’s certainly different.”
Well, there were some things different.
Wore masks by coaches. In some timeouts Detroit showed old recordings of real fan encounters with a note that they were taped before. There were spaced sitting areas in the table, none close to each other.
“Obviously, the atmosphere will differ greatly from what guys in an arena are used to,” said coach Steve Clifford of Orlando. As in the bubble, we had to get used to a different form of atmosphere and I hope these four games will allow us to know what will happen in these large arenas as well in the regular season.”
So, yeah, there was a ton other.
Others such as Wall’s basket blast, were as usual.
Houstons preseason was first owned by Wall since December 2018 when he got onto the rim for quick score in his debut with Rockets, one that preceded his rehab from heel and Achilles injuries.
The next basket for the Rockets? Two months before it tore his ACL and missed last year, Wall formed Cousins for 3-pointer, the center’s first basket from the 2019 Game 6 Final with the Warriors.
James Harden, former NBA scoring leader, didn’t play for the Rockets yet and he didn’t brush himself up to get back on the stage for the team he didn’t work with yet. In the Walt Disney World bubble less than 2 months ago, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, last seen together in the floor when the Lakeers finished in the Miami Heat in NBA finals, were among the regulars who opened up the champions’ season.